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Chinese Bitcoin Miners Feel Regulatory Heat

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Reports continue to emerge that suggest China will place a squeeze on bitcoin miners as part of its wider crackdown on cryptocurrency trading.

As sister-site CCN has reported, Chinese regulators have steadily closed the net around the country’s cryptocurrency ecosystem. The saga began when the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) ruled that initial coin offerings (ICOs) were illegal. Within a week, bitcoin exchanges began to announce their “voluntary” closures, citing the ICO ruling. Exchange shareholders and executives have allegedly been warned not to leave the country while investigators “clean-up” the now-illegal crypto marketplace. Finally, reports surfaced indicating that Beijing officials have told peer-to-peer cryptocurrency trading platforms to shut down their services.

With its foot now firmly planted on the neck of China’s bitcoin trading infrastructure, rumors have begun to emerge that indicate regulators will move against the Chinese cryptocurrency mining industry, which accounts for about 65% of the total bitcoin network hashrate.

To wit, Spencer Bogart, head of research at Blockchain Capital, tweeted  that his contacts have told him that “we haven’t seen the worst yet.” He suggested that “the most conservative outcome” would be a blanket ban on peer-to-peer trading, which would still indirectly kill the Chinese mining industry since companies would not have an outlet to trade their BTC for fiat currency. If the government takes a more aggressive stance, however, he warned that China could seize mining facilities and equipment. He also conveyed rumors that some bitcoin exchange executives could face “extreme punishment” for investing customer funds without their consent.

Bogart was careful to state that these reports are unconfirmed, but similar rumors have come from other sources, including the Wall Street Journal. Even more worrisome are comments from miners themselves. Wang Hongyi, an entrepreneur who is in the process of setting up a $1.5 million mining farm in China’s Gansu province, told the South China Morning Post (SCMP) he is concerned about being left without the ability to recover his investment if the ban does materialize:

If we start this business and the government says it’s illegal, then it will be impossible for us to recover our investment

ViaBTC Haipo Yang echoed those worries, telling the SCMP that he is “really concerned about administrative measures that the government might take to shut down mining.”

Fearing the coming storm, LedgerX developer Bryan Bishop warned Yang and his fellow bitcoin miners last week to “make immediate evacuation plans. Hire semi-trucks, load up the equipment, get out right now.”

Unfortunately, if the rumors are true, it might now be too late.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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I am a full-time high school history teacher, but I moonlight as a lifestyle tech geek. I am particularly interested in privacy-based techs.




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Analysis

Crypto Update: Coins Settle Down After End-Of-The-Day Bitcoin Madness

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While the short-term technical setup has been little changed in the cryptocurrency segment in the past 24 hours, a volatile dump&pump period made headlines in Bitcoin. The most valuable coin got smashed lower right before the futures market close, violating the $6275 support and plunging as low as $6100, triggering a downgrade in our trend model to neutral. BTC than surged higher a few minutes later and shot up to the $6500 resistance before settling down near $6400, where it stands today in European trading as well.

The possible manipulation event (or simply a closing imbalance in the futures market) dragged the rest of the market with it, although the moves were less pronounced in altcoins, and today, the market has been calm across the board, with most of the majors sporting modest gains amid the improving sentiment. On a positive note, Ripple is holding on to its gains from Tuesday, and today’s new swing high triggered a buy signal, which is a much-needed positive sign for the still generally bearish segment.

BTC/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Bitcoin’s long-term outlook is unchanged but the quick recovery from yesterday’s spike lower is a plus for bulls, even as the $6275 level is still in focus and the coin still haven’t shown strong bullish momentum.

With that in mind, traders should still be cautious with new positions, since the short-term outlook for the segment remains mixed, and BTC continues to trade dangerously close to the key long-term zone near $5850. Below $6275 further support is found at $6000, while resistance is ahead at $6500, $6750, and $7000.

ETH/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Ethereum continues to trade at a very important technical juncture, trying to establish a short-term uptrend after last week’s rally and avoid a re-test of the bear market lows. The fact that Ethereum remained stable amid yesterday’s Bitcoin move, and recovered to its short-term trading range is positive, but the coin has to show bullish momentum soon to remain on a short-term buy signal.

A sustained move below $200 would warn of a re-test of the lows but a new swing high could open up the way towards $235 and $260, with further strong resistance ahead between $275 and $280. Traders could still enter new short-term positions, but full positions are still not recommended given the bearish long-term trend.

Ripple Hits 1-Month High Above $0.35

XRP/USDT, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Ripple is rallying again today, scoring a new high above the key resistance zone near $0.35 and triggering a buy signal in our trend model with the bullish swing. The next major resistance zone is found near the $0.42 price level, close to the dominant broad declining trendline, with a weaker short-term resistance level at $0.3750, the August spike high, and found at $0.32, $0.313, and $0.30. The coin is still on a long-term sell signal, despite the current move, and traders shouldn’t enter full positions here.

LTC/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Litecoin is trading in a very narrow range today, and volatility declined progressively in since the selloff two weeks ago, which will likely lead to a strong momentum move as early as the coming days. A bullish move would be important for the whole segment, as it could point to a developing leadership, with Monero, Stellar, and Dash also being in possibly bullish setups. Primary resistance is ahead at $56, while support is found near $51.

Featured image from Shutterstock

Disclaimer:  The analyst owns cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but doesn’t engage in short-term or day-trading, nor does he hold short positions on any of the coins.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.6 stars on average, based on 348 rated postsTrader and financial analyst, with 10 years of experience in the field. An expert in technical analysis and risk management, but also an avid practitioner of value investment and passive strategies, with a passion towards anything that is connected to the market.




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Bitcoin Price in a Holding Pattern Following $60 Million Zaif Heist

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Bitcoin’s price stabilized on Thursday, recovering from a sharp but brief selloff that dragged values to their lowest in over a month. Meanwhile, markets awaited the fallout from yet another security breach of a Japanese cryptocurrency exchange,

BTC/USD Update

Bitcoin edged up 0.4% on Thursday to hit $6,415.30. The leading digital currency has bounced back sharply from five-week lows after prices briefly touched $6,100 on Bitfinex at around 18:00 UTC on Wednesday. The sharp selloff appears to have been short lived and not indicative of the wider market trend.

Bitcoin’s trading range narrowed significantly on Thursday, with prices fluctuating within a $62 band. Total trade volumes over the last 24 hours amounted to $4.2 billion, according to CoinMarketCap,

With the exception of yesterday’s sudden and short-lived reversal, bitcoin has been in a holding pattern for most of the week. Neither the bulls nor the bears have shown signs of stepping up to push the market significantly in either direction.

The value of all cryptocurrencies edged up slightly on Thursday, reaching $202.5 billion, according to latest available figures. XRP was the biggest gainer percentage-wise, rising 11% to $0.355.

Hackers Target Zaif

Zaif, a licensed Japanese cryptocurrency exchange, announced Thursday it had suffered a security breach that compromised as much as $60 million, mostly in bitcoin. The exchange first noticed suspicious activity on Sept. 14, prompting the sudden closure of asset deposit and withdrawal services. It received confirmation that the outflows were a coordinated cyber theft three days later.

In addition to bitcoin, the attackers successfully targeted bitcoin cash and Monacoin in their theft.

The exchange has announced that efforts to re-enable deposits and withdrawals are already underway and that it has already reported the incident to the Japanese Treasury Department.

Zaif currently has roughly 2.2 billion yen ($20 million) in reserves. To cover the losses, it has reached an agreement with another Japanese cryptocurrency exchange by the name of Fisco. According to various reports, Fisco will hand over $44.5 million Zaif in exchange for an ownership stake in the company.

Japan continues to be the epicenter of cyber attacks targeting cryptocurrency exchanges. The attacks have been so severe as to prompt local authorities to hasten new legislation to govern domestic exchanges.

The biggest attack to inflict a Japanese exchange occurred in January when Coincheck was taken for $530 million.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.6 stars on average, based on 604 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he specializes in cryptocurrency, economics and the broader financial markets. Sam has nearly eight years of progressive experience as an analyst, writer and financial market commentator where he has contributed to the world's foremost newscasts.




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New Bitcoin Core Release Prevents Miner DoS Attack

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The Bitcoin Core development team released an important update yesterday that patches a crucial security vulnerability. Bitcoin is usually known as the most hackproof and secure blockchain, which makes any vulnerability in the network incredibly newsworthy.

Specifically, the patch addresses a potential opening for a denial of service attack within the Bitcoin Core wallet software.

The way the potential exploit could work was by allowing anyone who was capable of mining a sufficient number of proof of work blocks to crash Bitcoin Core nodes running software versions 0.14.0 to 0.16.2.

They made sure to emphasize, however, that stored funds were not at risk. They also warned that derivative software such as Knots are also affected and have their own specific patch for the issue.

That said, the developers made clear that if you only occasionally run Bitcoin Core, it is less urgent to patch, although it would obviously be safest to upgrade as soon as possible.

Upgrading will take between five minutes to half an hour dependent upon the processing power of a given users computer. In addition, users should note that the new wallet will have to redownload the entire blockchain and that downgrading to an older version after the fact is not supported.

The update also fixed a non-insignificant number of minor bugs. I strongly encourage our readers to check out the full instructions on the Github page for Bitcoin Core.

These bugs were:

1. Consensus: 14249 696b936 fixed crash bug with duplicate inputs within a transaction
2. RPC and other APIs: gives an error when an amount is needed but missing
3. Miscellaneous: Invalid flags error should be set to bitcoinconsensus_err
4. Documentation: #13844 11b9dbb correct the help output for -prune

The news could have come at a better time for Bitcoin. There has been mounting uncertainty about whether Bitcoin is trapped in a semi-permanent slump that could continue for years. Those who believe in the untapped power/capabilities of the Bitcoin network continue to wait for solutions like the lightning network to increase the utility of Bitcoin as a true peer to peer electronic cash.

Although this should not concern those who primarily view Bitcoin as a store of value, any whiff of exploits in the network’s inherent security could result in a massive sell-off as core assumptions are demolished. This analyst hopes this is a momentary blip in the promise of Bitcoin. I encourage our readers to reach out to members of the dev team directly for any additional clarifications.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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